Created by Rahul Dhari
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jun 05, 2023

Our surface area calculator for area of different shapes of wings and weight converter might be useful before using this tool.

Wing loading is defined as the ratio of the weight of an aircraft and the projected area of its wings. The weight here is usually assumed to be the gross weight or maximum take-off weight of the aircraft. The wing loading parameter $W_\mathrm{L}$ is given by the equation:

$W_\mathrm{L} = \frac{W}{S}$

where W and S are the weight of aircraft and wing area. In other words, wing loading can be defined as weight of aircraft per unit area of wing like surface density. Similarly, wing cube loading, $W_\mathrm{CL}$ can be written as:

$W_\mathrm{CL} = \frac{W}{S^{1.5}}$

Wing loading is measured in the units $\mathrm{kg/m^2}$ and $\mathrm{lb/ft^2}$ whereas wing cube loading is measured as weight per unit volume, i.e., same as density. You can also explore our thrust to weight ratio calculator to help you design an aircraft.

Wing loading parameter forms the basis of the early stages of aircraft design. Some of the parameters which are affected by the value of wing loading are:

• Aircraft speeds — Different types of aircraft speeds such as take-off and landing speeds, cruising and maximum speeds, and stalling speed, all are affected by any change in the wing loading parameter. Now, the area of the wing remains constant, which implies the load carried by aircraft causes an increase and decrease of various types of speeds. Such that, for a given velocity V:
$\qquad W_\mathrm{L} \propto V^2$
• Turning performance — The turning radius and load factor is dependent on the wing loading. An aircraft can make tighter turns if its weight is less. Such that, for a particular turning radius, R:
$\qquad W_\mathrm{L} \propto R$

1. Enter the weight of the aircraft.
2. Fill in the area of wings.

Estimate the wing loading for a MiG 21 aircraft whose wing area is 23 m² and take off weight is 10,400 kg.

1. Enter the weight of the aircraft, W = 10,400 kg.
2. Fill in the area of wings $S = 23~\mathrm{m^2}$.
\qquad \scriptsize \begin{align*} W_\mathrm{L} &= W / S \\ &= 10400 / 23 \\ &= 452.2~\mathrm{kg/m^2} \end{align*}

You can also use the advanced mode to find out the wing loading for some popular aircraft from the list.

\qquad \scriptsize \begin{align*} W_\mathrm{CL} &= W / S^1.5 \\ &= 10400 / 23^{1.5} \\ &= 94.28~\mathrm{kg/m^3} \end{align*}

The wing loading parameter varies for different types of aircraft. For instance, a glider aircraft has a very low value of wing loading compared to a military or a passenger jet. Similarly, a passenger aircraft has a larger wing loading value compared to military fighter aircraft due to the larger load. Further, different types of wing configurations have different aspect ratios and wing loading. A typical hobby RC aircraft has $0.625 - 2.5 \mathrm{lb/ft^2}$.

## FAQ

Wing loading is defined as the ratio of the weight of an aircraft to the planform area of wings.

Divide the weight of aircraft by planform area.

A typical glider has a wing loading of less than 100 kg/m². As per UK CAA, the wing loading limit for microlights is 25 kg/m².

The wing loading of F-22 is 377 kg/m². A typical F-22 weighs, 29,410 kg and has a wing area of 78 m².

Rahul Dhari
Wing area (S)
ft²
Weight (W)
lb
lb/ft²
lb/cu ft
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